The director general of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), Stephen Asamoah Boateng, has told the management of Great Consolidated Diamonds Ghana Ltd (GCDGL), a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies, to stop operating from the premises of the now-defunct Great Consolidated Diamonds (GCD), located at Akwatia in the Eastern Region.
This brings to an end processes started by the government to take over the company from GCDGL.
It will be recalled that a recent Daily Statesman report revealed that the government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, had abrogated the GCD contract with GCDGL.
The report described how a letter at the disposal of the Daily Statesman, dated June 10 2019 and signed by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, had stated that the mining lease of the company had been cancelled, pursuant to Section 68 of the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703).
The report said the June 2019 letter followed a notice to remedy a breach of mining licence, sent to the management of GCDGL from the Ministry in December 2018, on which the company defaulted.
In the “Notice to Remedy Breach of Mining Licence” letter, dated December 12 2018, the Minister said GCDGL had breached the terms of its six mining leases, granted on December 31 2012.
Following the ministry’s letter, the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) also wrote through its lawyers to the management of the company in April this year to serve notice to remedy the breaches. This request, too, was not adhered to.
Following the Daily Statesman report, the Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darfour, visited GCDGL and questioned the continuing occupation and use of facilities belonging to GCD Ltd by staff of GCDGL despite the cancellation of the company’s mining lease.
When he was asked whether he would consider ejecting the staff of the company from the place, the Minister said he would not want to evict them by force.
Mr Darfour said he would first have to discuss the matter with the sector Minister to decide on the way forward for the company before a final decision could be taken.
He however said that, so far, GCDGL had proved beyond doubt that it was incapable of reviving the company and so the government would invite expressions of interest from investors who might wish to come on board.
A visit to the company yesterday by the SIGA director general showed that the government has finally decided to take over the company from GCDGL.
Mr Asamoah Boateng said even though practical moves to effect the change have already started, there is a need to complete necessary legal processes before the takeover can be complete.
He said a team of experts drawn from various fields, including law, mining, surveying, finance and security, has been put together as an interim management committee (IMC) to oversee the management of the firm.
The new committee will be allowed to do its work without interference, he said, adding that SIGA will however take regular reports from the IMC.
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Mr Asamoah Boateng used the opportunity to carry out a tour of the GCDGL operation and engage with the few workers on site.
He urged them not to panic about the takeover, because the government will work in their interest, he said.
He also visited the GCD hospital and basic school, where he talked with staff, patients, teachers and students.